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  • Sarah Harley

SWOT ANALYSIS



STRENGTHS

I’ve had years of experience in the creative industries. PR, marketing, graphic design and interior design.


Throughout my career I’ve also worked with photographers – both hiring them to produce work for clients and then also working with them as stylist on shoots. I feel that this gives me a good insight into working on both sides of the fence. It has also allowed me to develop an eye for what looks aesthetically pleasing. If I was working for clients whose budget did not allow for a stylist and photographer I could offer both services as a package.


As I have also worked for clients and for myself. Again, equipping me with the necessary skills to work as a freelance photographer and work with clients in a professional manner.


I have knowledge of how to set up and run a business for myself.


I am also clearly committed to becoming a professional as I am studying for a BA (Hons) degree making me more than just an amateur photographer.


I also have a good range of quality equipment and good working knowledge of this.


I have experience – I've previously supplied work for people.


I’ve also lived in the local area for many years and so have good local knowledge and contacts. Likewise, I have travelled and lived in different locations which again gives me a wide range of life experiences that I can draw on.


WEAKNESSES

I sometimes struggle to think of big ideas for projects which can stop the flow of creativity. I get caught up in the little details before finding the big picture.


I also doubt myself too much which comes across as a lack of confidence. It means I may not sell myself as well as I could and thus miss opportunities to generate business. I need to show confidence in my ability or clients will not feel confident to book me.


I also find it challenging directing people when taking portraits. I prefer to work candidly but this is not going to be the right shooting method for a lot of commercial work – although it may be appropriate for editorial work.


I still need to spend more time with studio/portable lighting so that I can create better images.


I also feel that I need to be quick when working or people will seem like I don’t know what I’m doing. This means I may not get the best shot so I need to slow down and remember that it’s okay to take time if it means getting the best photos.


My life also has constraints meaning I may not always be as flexible as I could be.


Also older than many other freelancers so may lose jobs to younger people.


I don’t have as much kit yet as I need/want.


OPPORTUNITIES

Although there are a number of commercial and editorial photographers in the area, none appear to offer styling for product/food photography as an additional service so this may be an opportunity to add something to my business proposition that others don’t have.


As I also have PR and marketing knowledge, I could also help people with their overall promotional plans – again this is more aimed at smaller businesses but this may suit the nature of businesses that exist in the locality.


Local competitors also don’t seem to offer pricing information on their website. This may put some smaller to medium size businesses off contacting them. I plan on being transparent with my prices which may attract more potential clients.


I feel my pricing is also fair and simple to understand. There are no hidden extras as there seems to be when researching photographers in the same genre. It also gives me opportunity to increase prices as my reputation improves and my client list grows.


I am also considering offering business clients packages which will give them an ongoing updated library of images. For example, if they are a restaurant I could offer them a seasonal package to do a new menu shoot 4 times a year at a discounted package rate. This is not something that appears to be widely offered. It could provide more of a guaranteed income.


THREATS

Competition – there are already photographers out there who are established, qualified, known and professional. Clients may not want to switch to someone new.


Likewise, there are always less qualified photographers who may be willing to do the job for a cheaper cost, and also new photographers emerging all the time.


Demographics - the local area is also not necessarily going to provide enough work. Not only is there existing competition, the economy is not hugely thriving and so people may not be able to pay for photography.


Mobile phone cameras have made lots of people think they can do just as well.


Freelance work is not always consistent – the threat of needing money is real. Although the genres of work I’m looking at won’t necessarily be affected by seasons, they could be affected by the world at large – politics and world events affect business budgets. This could mean less work so I may have to consider other areas of photography to cover costs.


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